There is nothing more depressing than wandering around a market, and finding it is empty.
Today Guildford farmers market all but deserted. Not as bad as last month, but then last month it was cold and raining, whereas this month, at least the sun was shining.
At a guess, many of the stalls their business is 10% of what it would be be. I asked a few. They said 20% of normal and they were losing money.
Stalls that are usually on the market absent, stalls that were there last month absent. I expect many more to be absent next month, as it is not worth the effort to attend, to sit all day bored stiff losing money.
Usually the grilled sausage stall would have a queue. Nothing. I waited for a sausage to be cooked. I was the only in line.
As I waited and then sat and ate my sausage I observed a bread stall. During this entire period, not only did I not see a single purchase take place, I did not see a single passer-by even stop and take a look at the stall.
The farmers market would usually be located in the High Street, but due to the relaying of setts, the market has had to be relocated.
It has been relocated to a car park away from the town centre, with no footfall. It would be difficult to imagine a worse location.
It a retailer was in this location, they would b e paying a third of the rent, a third of the businesses rates, compared with a prime High Street location.
The stallholders are being charged a premium rent for a premier locationa nd yet they are not in a premium location. They are still being charged as though in the High Street. They are not in the High Street, they are in a car park.
This is tantamount to fraud.
What is wrong with North Street, where the street market si held on Friday and Saturday. It could be argued, insufficient room. In which case overflow into the side streets.
What is wrong with the bridge at the bottom of the High Street, could overflowin into the adjacent car park or beside the river?
Or Castle Street?
Or even the Castle Grounds?
Indeed anywhere other than this grotty car park.
It is not only the stallholders who are suffering.
If most of the suggested location, surrounding businesses benefit.
No one benefits from the location in a car park.
The council would bleat they are losing revenue from parked cars.
This is complete utter bollocks.
Are they suggesting that whoever would have parked here, does not visit Guildford?
People would simply park elsewhere, the car parks and side streets are not full. Thus no loss of revenue.
The only time there would be loss of revenue, would be in the run up to Christmas, when the car parks are full to overflowing.
And what does the council do at this time of year? Er, makes the car parks free.
And why is there a veto on coffee? Who is applying this veto?
There is a stall with tea. Since when has tea been grown in the Surrey Hills?
Surrey Hills Coffee could have a stall. They are local coffee roasters.
And if there is a veto, it is not being applied fairly.
Coffee is sold on the street market.
What we are seeing is appalling maladministration by the council.